Friday, May 4, 2007

North Worcester County to Quabbin 5/4

While heading down to the Quabbin Visitor's Center, to pickup some gate keys for a field trip on Sunday, I bumped into Brad Blodgett (former Massachusetts State Ornithologist) on Maple Lane in Petersham. For the past 2 or 3 years a Sandhill Crane has been present in this area, for at least part of the spring, leading a few "bird people" to wonder what this bird's intentions might be! Our conversation centered around Cranes in Maine; it now sounds as if there are at least 3 pairs nesting in remote regions of Maine, if 3 have been many more might there be? We didn't find a Crane but it was nice to "visit" with Brad for a bit.

Near a large marsh on the Templeton/Philipston town line, I saw dozens of Yellow-rumped, and a few Palm and Black-throated Green Warblers, an Eastern Kingbird and 3 Solitary Sandpipers. The Broad-winged Hawk (below) was perched in a back yard, allowing me to "digi-bin" (through 8X32 binoculars) it from inside the car while it carefully studied the ground for a meal...until a few Blue Jays shattered its solitude!
Broad-winged Hawk

Quabbin Park had little variety but I enjoyed excellent looks at a few Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, heard several Pine and Yellow-rumped Warblers along with few Black and White Warblers. Plenty of Turkey Vultures were in the air and a few Sharp-shinned Hawks were fighting a stiff northwest wind near Enfield lookout and I heard a drumming Sapsucker.

looking north from Enfield Lookout

After "running" an errand to Fitchburg, I saw a Common Loon on Snow Mill Pond in Fitchburg. I carefully studied this bird for leg bands, as many central Mass. breeding Loons have been color banded by Biologist, this bird was un-banded. Snow Mill Pond has no motor boat traffic, a small island and is not much smaller than Paradise Pond (Princeton, Ma.), which has a pair of nesting Loons. Chances are this was just a transient bird, but I couldn't help but wonder if it was an un-mated "prospector"!

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